C-Section: Types and Effects on Fetus

The rates of Caesarean sections (C-sections) have been increasing so much. For example, the C-section rate in the U.S. increased from 21% to 32% between 1996 and 2007.1C-sections are now common than ever – let’s look at what it is and the effects on the fetus.

What is a C-section?

surgery c-section
A C-section is a surgery in which the mother’s abdomen is cut open and the baby is taken out. There are countless reasons why a mother may be unable to have a vaginal delivery and, because of the risks, may be advised by the doctor to choose a C-section instead. There are two types of C-sections: an elective C-section and an emergency C-section. The flow of the surgery in each case is the same.

First, the mother will be given an anesthesia to anesthetize the lower half of one’s body, then an incision will be made to the abdomen and the uterus, and the baby will be taken out of the uterus. After the baby is delivered, the incision will be sewn up with dissolvable or absorbable stitches or will be closed up with staples.

The surgery usually doesn’t take more than an hour in most cases. Since you’re given a local anesthesia, you’ll still be conscious and you’ll be able to see your baby once they’re lifted out of your womb.

Types of Caesarean section #1: Elective C-section

pregnant woman doctor belly

An elective C-section refers to the deliberate action of choosing to have a C-section and deciding the date of your delivery. The reasons why moms are unable to have a vaginal birth can range from having a breech baby, having twins or multiples, having placenta previa (the placenta covering a part of or the whole cervix) or having had a C-section done before.

As the elective C-section must take place before the contractions start, if the baby is deemed to be fully developed, then the elective C-section will take place around Week 37 and Week 38.

Types of Caesarean section #2: Emergency C-section

surgery hospital treatments

An emergency C-section refers to a C-section that takes place as an emergency measure during a vaginal birth. If the mother or the fetus’ condition takes a turn for the worse during labor, the doctors might decide to do a C-section instead.

The emergency C-section is recommended in the following situations:

When the fetus is in danger

  • The fetal heartbeat becomes weaker
  • The fetus is unable to pass through the birth canal

When the mother is in danger

  • Bleeding due to severe placental abruption
  • The mother is diagnosed as having preeclampsia

How long is a C-section?

calendar woman

The hospital stay after the C-section is about 2 to 3 days. Note that you can always ask for painkillers during this period of time. Try to eat food like gruel, congee or oatmeal that will be easy to digest after the surgery. If the incision was sewn up with dissolvable or absorbable sutures, then no removal is needed.

If staples were used, then they will be removed before you’re discharged from the hospital. After the removal of staples, you might be given Steri-Strips (like band-aids) that may peel off by themselves, or you can remove a week later.

Breastfeeding can start about 2 to 3 days after the baby is born. You might be worried about breastfeeding while on painkillers, so check with your practitioner just to be on the safe side.

The effects of a C-section on the baby

baby smile

Are there any effects on the baby? The baby’s growth after the delivery is in no way different from a baby born vaginally. So, even if you had local anesthesias done, they don’t have any effect on your baby – don’t worry. If you were under general anesthesia, your baby’s breath might be temporarily weak, but the drugs don’t have any direct effect on the fetus.

Countdown to the C-Day

pregnant woman belly

Deciding to do a C-section might reduce the stress you feel from not knowing when labor could happen, as the expected delivery date (EDD) is but a prediction. Counting down to the C-day could either be unnerving or reassuring – try to stay optimistic and prepare yourself mentally and physically for the day you’ll meet your baby.